© Photographe | PIerre VINCENT

The Baths at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes

Spiritual journey at the sanctuary

Baths, taps, holy water… Along with the Grotto rock and candlelight, water is one of the main symbols of the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Lourdes. But all this can be a little confusing to our visitors, pilgrims, tourists… Do people really bathe here? But first, what’s all this about water ?

Lourdes water

An essential element

It all began with an apparition witnessed by young Bernadette Soubirous. After the first apparition on 11 February 1858, several more followed. The ninth, on 25 February 1858, marked a turning point: a few hundred people went with the “seer” to the grotto on that morning. As they looked on in amazement, thinking her mad, the young girl began to scrape the muddy soil in the depths of the grotto, then scooped up the resulting mixture of water and mud with her hands, and drank it. She also washed her face with it. “Go and drink from the spring and wash yourself there” were the instructions given by the Lady and heard by Bernadette alone. After this discovery, people came to the spring to drink the water and splash it on their faces. The first miraculous healings occurred in the days that followed. The Lourdes spring became a place of pilgrimage in itself and offered new hope for millions of sick people worldwide.

Take the plunge

Large marble baths are filled with the famous Lourdes water. Just after the Grotto, by the Gave, the pilgrims immerse themselves in this water, which has a temperature of 12°C. You first have to arrive during opening times and wait on the benches provided in front of the heavy stone doors. An army of volunteers from the Hospitality of Our Lady of Lourdes will be there to guide you. No need to bring flip-flops, a swimsuit or a towel: everything will be provided for you there. Everything is completely free of charge but you can of course leave an offering. When your turn comes, a volunteer (male if you’re a man, female if you’re a woman) will lead you to your bath. In this small individual room, screened off by curtains, the stripping down is physical as well as spiritual: the pared-down setting, the baths made of bluish rock, the simple cloth robe. You experience an atmosphere of prayer and contemplation, assisted by two volunteers. You then move towards the bath and the two people on either side of you help you into the Lourdes water for a brief immersion.

The baths

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Did you know ?

Full immersion is no longer possible in winter and was stopped during the Covid crisis. The baths have now been replaced by the water gesture, a ceremony that takes visitors back to basics.

Find out more

Useful info

Plan your visit

The Sanctuary Baths are located within the Sanctuary at the following address:

Avenue Mgr Théas
Sanctuaire ND de Lourdes
65100 LOURDES

Parking:
The nearest free car parks are the one at the top of Boulevard de la Grotte, near Boulevard du Lapacca, and the Esplanade du Paradis car park.

By train
If you are coming by train, Lourdes station is about 2 kilometres away from the Sanctuary.

By bus
Take the L4 or L5 bus

Bus route map

Nearby

Visit the sanctuary

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes covers an area of 52 hectares. Within the Domain, you will find 22 places of worship. Some of these gathering places really must be seen if you want to make the most of your visit. From the Massabielle Grotto to the Church of St. Bernadette through the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, set forth to discover the Sanctuary and its history.